Thursday, October 29, 2009


Is there a magic cutoff period

when offspring become accountable for their own actions?

Is there a wonderful moment

when parents can become detached spectators

in the lives of their children and shrug,

'It's their life,'..... and feel nothing?

When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital corridor with my Dad,

waiting for doctors to put a few stitches in my daughter's head.

I asked, 'When do you stop worrying?'

The nurse said, 'When they get out of the accident stage.'

My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little

chair in a classroom and heard how one of my

children talked incessantly, disrupted the class,

and was headed for a career making

license plates. As if to read my mind, a teacher

said, 'Don't worry, they all go through

this stage and then you can sit back, relax and

enjoy them.' When I told him, my dad just smiled

faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime

waiting for the phone to ring, the cars to come

home, the front door to open. A friend said,

'they're trying to find themselves. Don't worry,

in a few years, you can stop worrying. They'll be

adults.' Again, my dad just smiled faintly

and said nothing.

By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being

vulnerable. I was still worrying over my

children, but there was a new wrinkle. There

was nothing I could do about it.

I continued to anguish over their disappointments, be

tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in

their struggle in life.

As always my Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

My friends said that when my kids got married I

could stop worrying and lead my own

life. I wanted to believe that, but I was

haunted by my dad's warm smile and his

occasional, 'You look pale. Are you all right?

Call me the minute you get home. Are

You depressed about something?'

Can it be that parents are sentenced to a

lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another

handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of

human frailties and the fears of the

unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue

that elevates us to the highest form of life?

One of my children became quite irritable recently, saying to me,

'Where were you? I've been calling for days,

and no one answered I was worried.'

I smiled a warm smile.

The torch has been passed.

Thanks Mary S.

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